ROMSEY residents have breathed a sigh of relief after plans to chop down a tree yesterday were scrapped.

This comes after angry residents slammed plans to axe the oak tree at the end of Scoreys Crescent, claiming a road leading to Ganger Farm would be built in its place despite there being two access points to the farmland from Ganger Farm Lane and Jermyns Lane.

Now critics of the controversial plans have revealed they "remain hopeful, but equally cautious" about the tree's future, adding they are still waiting for "full written confirmation" from Barratt and David Wilson Homes Southampton explaining their plans for the road.

Barratt has planning permission to remove two trees on the boundary of Ganger Farm to enable it to build a vehicle access into the owners’ land.

Managing director for Barratt Homes Southampton, Jon Green, said they have "found a way to divert access to the site", meaning they won't have to cut the tree down.

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Kathryn Hartwell, who lives in Scoreys Crescent, said: "We had written confirmation on Friday from Barratt saying the tree has been granted temporary reprieve.

"We remain hopeful Barratt will keep to their word in that everything they are doing in the coming weeks, with respect to the changes to the road, will not damage the tree and they will do everything in their power to keep the tree.

"We also remain equally cautious around the issue until we have full written confirmation of the plans for the road."

Romsey Advertiser: Residents in Scoreys Crescent who opposed the tree being chopped downResidents in Scoreys Crescent who opposed the tree being chopped down

She added: "We have had so much support in such a short space of time, especially from local councillors who we have had meetings with at 10pm some nights; we could not have done it without them."

Fellow neighbour, Sheila Floyd, said: "I feel it is a good outcome in the short term, because we have saved the tree for now.

"I am very anxious to see the plans Barratt come up with in terms of the new road, because we had some concerns about it being built correctly so it doesn't damage the tree.

"The other thing we are concerned about is will there be a gate as part of the new road, because the private road by Scoreys Crescent that goes up to Jermyns Lane has been used as a rat run by drivers.

"We also want to know if this road will be just for the farmer to use for moving his machinery, because a lot of businesses seem to run out of that farm these days."

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "I do not know where we go from here, but hopefully Barratt will keep their word and leave the tree alone for a while.

"As I said to the residents, we have won the battle but not the war."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy BaverstockCllr Dorothy Baverstock

MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes, said she asked Barratt to "look at alternatives" before a decision was made on the oak tree.

Ms Nokes added: "I am sure it is an enormous relief to all those residents who have worked so hard on this issue."

Romsey Advertiser: MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline NokesMP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes

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Mr Green said: "We have been working hard to find a solution to ensure the tree remains.

"I’m pleased to say we have found a way to divert access to the site which satisfies current requirements and concerns and so we won’t have to cut the tree down.

“We are also forming an ecological forum to work closely with the residents where they can give their feedback on the local environment and the development moving forward."

He added: “As a company, we always try to retain trees on our developments and with the new planting along the Jermyn’s Lane boundary there is a significant boost to the number of trees on site from its former use.”

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, residents were told the tree would be felled on Monday, June 15, and work could start on the road on Monday, June 22.